Chelsea Schneider, Municipal Innovations Specialist, Aim

Daleville town leaders anticipate celebrating the start of construction this summer on a mixed-use development to bring new retail and housing to the community’s downtown.

Community leaders consider the Old Town Junction project as a pivotal step in reinventing Daleville’s rural downtown. Already, Daleville has seen the opening of a new $4.2 million park, which features a splash pad. That exciting amenity drew more than 25,000 visitors last summer, Clerk-Treasurer Amy Roberts said. The park also features an amphitheater and playgrounds and is coupled with an infusion of grant funding for streetscape improvements and gateway signage.

“We are just trying to draw people into our downtown,” Roberts said, “and encourage more people to come to downtown. The park was a big part of it. That drew a lot of people in, and it’s had a wonderful response.”

The community came together to envision the park amenity, as well as a strategy to invigorate downtown. The result: Daleville will enjoy a “reborn hometown atmosphere,” which will bring the community together for years to come, Roberts said.

Now, community leaders are excited about Old Town Junction, which will combine retail space with loft apartments. The housing and park projects respond to community planning sessions on Daleville’s future. As more and more families are looking to move to Daleville because of its high-quality schools and employment opportunities, new housing and amenities are needed, Roberts said.

The hope is the projects will draw in other private developers to build on surrounding corners of the downtown.

And the town is launching new programs at the park in hopes of bringing more visitors to the community of about 1,600 residents outside of Anderson and Muncie. Town leaders are organizing a concert series for this summer and are planning monthly movie nights.

Daleville is an example of growth and investment rural Indiana communities can see if a plan is in place, Roberts said.

“It is possible. It doesn’t matter your size. Things are possible if you really have the desire,” Roberts said. “It doesn’t matter how small you are, you can still have a big vision.”

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